Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Career-Related Parental Support of Adolescents with Hearing Loss: Relationships with Parents' Expectations and Occupational Status

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Career-Related Parental Support of Adolescents with Hearing Loss: Relationships with Parents' Expectations and Occupational Status

Article excerpt

Various theories emphasize the influence of parents on their child's career development. Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994), for example, explains how the bidirectional interaction of personal-cognitive variables (e.g., self-efficacy, outcome expectation, and goals), external environmental factors (e.g., parental support and barriers), and overt behaviors (e.g., career decision) can either promote or impede career development processes (i.e., interests, choice, and performance). Other developmental theories, such as the ecological approach (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and developmental contextualism (Vondracek, Lerner, & Schulenberg, 1986), have considered family to be a crucial contextual variable influencing the development of adolescents and their careers. Family Systems Theory also emphasizes family rules and myths that serve to influence children's career decision-making and values (Bratcher, 1982).

Research findings support the notion that parents play a major active role in adolescents' career development. Studies have shown that adolescents speak most frequently about career issues with their parents (Otto, 2000), and name parents as a major influence during educational and career transitions (Mortimer, ZimmerGembeck, Holmes, & Shanahan, 2002; Schultheiss, 2006). According to Trask - Tate and Cunningham (2010), this is largely due to the fact that parents- unlike educators, counselors, and other professionals-serve as a continuous, persistent, and stable resource for their children throughout their lives. Parents' influence is exerted through certain kinds of parental behaviors as well as through conditions within the family that foster growth in values, attitudes, and selfconcepts in children (Schroedel & Carnahan, 1991). Although adolescents become progressively independent from their parents during high school, they continue to depend heavily on them in the area of career development (Sebald, 1989).

The impact parents have on their adolescent child's career development may be even more significant when children who are deaf and hard of hearing (dhh) are being considered. Studies on persons with hearing loss in general have found that they tend to experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment (e.g., MacLeod-Gallinger, 1992; Schroedel & Geyer, 2000). In addition, they often earn less money and have fewer promotion opportunities than their hearing colleagues (Luft, 2000; Winn, 2007). Consequently, they may rely more heavily on their family for guidance and support and thus be more influenced by family attitudes and perceptions.

Whiston and Keller (2004) examined more than 70 studies on how family influences career development. They concluded that aspects related to family processes (e.g., parental expectations) and aspects related to family structure (e.g., parental educational level) were two interdependent family contextual factors that should be further explored in career development research. Indeed, a host of family context variables have been found to be related to the vocational behavior of youth, including parent expectations for achievement, socioeconomic status (SES), and parent occupational and educational attainment (Penick & Jepsen, 1992; Schultheiss, 2006; Schultheiss, Kress, Manzi, & Glasscock, 2001). In addition, many researchers (e.g., Flores & O'Brien, 2002; Keller & Whiston, 2008) have emphasized the contribution of career-related parent support to important career outcomes. However, not much is known about these aspects regarding adolescents with hearing loss.

The present study focused on the contribution of a family process variable-parental occupational and family expectations-and a family structure variable-parental occupational status-to parents' career-related support of their dhh adolescent children.

Parental Occupational and Family Expectations

Parents pass on their occupational and family aspirations for their children (Creed, Conlon, & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2007; Shulman, Rosenheim, & Knafo, 1999). …

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